UNITED 2 WEST HAM 1 (1995/96)
“You’ll win nothing with kids.” All these years on, it stands as one of history’s great unfulfilled prophecies, but in August 1995, Alan Hansen’s Match of the Day monologue wasn’t as outlandish as it sounds. United, with Cantona still serving his eight-month suspension, had ended the 1994/95 campaign trophyless – a rarity in that decade – and then sold key first-teamers in Mark Hughes, Paul Ince and Andrei Kanchelskis. In our season opener, we were well-beaten by Aston Villa, a result thought to be so demoralising for Alex Ferguson’s emerging young side that it prompted Hansen’s prediction. The boss knew best though, keeping faith with the kids for the visit of West Ham. Goals from Paul Scholes and Roy Keane, either side of Steve Bruce’s own goal, in front of a North Stand under construction, gave us a vital three points and kickstarted a run of 10 wins in 13 games.